675 Tasting Notes

This is one of my very favourite teas, and David’s discontinued it a while ago. I’ve been hoarding samples from Sil and jessiwrites, because they’re awesome.

I may have just had a minor freakout over this proposal due tomorrow. I finally decided on my topic last night, and I’ve spent the better half of the afternoon and evening doing research and writing. My friend and I were just discussing it, and next thing you know I’m questioning everything I’ve done up to this point. Ahhh. You know the vicious cycle that comes next – check the time, ask yourself if there’s another time to figure out a back up plan, freak out some more, etc. After some frantic thinking, I told J to stop what he was doing and read everything I’d done, while I simultaneously attempted to explain to him the background research, of which he knows nothing. After ten minutes, in which I’m sure I sprouted a few grey hairs, I had reworded a couple sentences and was back on track. PHEW. Talk about an overreaction.

This tea is amazing. And I think the events of this evening have warranted its presence.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec
VariaTEA

Oh no! That is definitely stressful. I have written and rewritten essays so I know how quickly second guessing yourself can be. At least you were able to work everything out and get back on track.

I ended up giving up on some of the questions on my assignment but got it done and handed it in this morning (then went and bought teas to reward myself :P) so yay for doing our work!

Courtney

Second guessing is the worst. Yay for getting that done and out of the way! I love the reward. :P I feel back in control of my tea spending after my six orders haha.

VariaTEA

haha. I actually did pretty good. I got 10 teas, a to-go cup and filters for less than $25 and then went to Caesars and got a free cup of tea and 5 new teas for about $15.

Courtney

That’s awesome! Good job tea shopping. :) Where were the first 10 from?

VariaTEA

Oh. I thought I mentioned that but apparently instead I just assumed you should know. I went to DAVIDs and picked up a few teas.

Courtney

That is what I was thinking, but I wanted to be sure. Although I did just see your note on Mint To Be. That one may be intriguing enough to warrant a trip in. Shudder, I do not enjoy the mall hah.

VariaTEA

I don’t understand why it tastes almost fudgy to me. I don’t think there is chocolate in it. I am confused but enjoying the cup so all is well.

Courtney

I noticed David’s update on it says something about chocolate notes. And MWUAHAHA the proposal is complete! I am so happy with it, and it has truly reinforced just how much I can’t wait to be a full-blown scientist haha.

VariaTEA

Yay for finishing it!! Must feel pretty awesome.

OMGsrsly

Go, Courtney, go! :)

caile

Yay! That’s great on getting your proposal finished!

Courtney

Thanks guys :)

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drank Campfire Blend by Verdant Tea
675 tasting notes

Another in my order from Verdant!

The dry scent of this tea made me quite wary, but steeped the scent is much more inviting. The cinnamon is coming through most clearly now.

The taste is pretty light, which is both good and not so good. There isn’t any of the almost offensive dry scent taste going on, but the yummy smelling cinnamon isn’t that clear in the taste either. I’m getting the subtlest hint of orange in the background. Hmm. Hopefully more flavour will come through as it cools.

I’m thinking this one needs a bit more leaf.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Sil

i think i usually do this one at 1.5 per “cup” though with my size mugs it’s 3 since they’re twice the size of normal cups

Courtney

I have a 14 oz. mug and I generally do the recommended for 8 oz. This didn’t work out in my favour here haha. Lesson learned!

Stephanie

oof I did NOT like this one.

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drank Silver Buds Yabao by Verdant Tea
675 tasting notes

So I got some of this in a swap from Cavovorax a while ago (I’m pretty positive it was Cavo), and it kind of scared me, so I just sent it along to my friend. Once she tried it, she couldn’t stop raving about it. She immediately bought more from Verdant claiming she couldn’t live without it. And, of course, I was kicking myself for not even trying it. Silly, silly.

My Verdant order arrived today, so this was the first tea I wanted to try. It kind of smells like the forest. But I’m enjoying the scent. I must say the taste matches up well with the scent. Like pine trees. Subtle pine trees. Pine tree tea. I have always wondered what pine trees taste like.

I think I need to fiddle around with the steeping times and temperatures, because this one is tasty, but I don’t think it’s keep-around-in-my-cupboard tasty. Any suggestions on steeping parameters?

In other good news, I finally decided on a topic for my proposal. I also added some photos of tea. Now to find space in my cupboard for all these new teas. And the five other orders on the way.

http://s770.photobucket.com/user/courtneyns/media/Steepster/4D8078E6-10EA-4B54-B472-DDB40BBD6D22_zpswyhyh0kv.jpg.html?sort=3&o=0

http://s770.photobucket.com/user/courtneyns/media/Steepster/5DD658B8-C5EF-4E84-A5EA-BF94F25F1CC1_zpszmnq7li0.jpg.html?sort=3&o=1

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
OMGsrsly

I got the yabao snickerdoodle, and yes! Pine trees! So interesting. I think I steeped at 185 for 3-4min.

caile

Nice! And…wow at five other orders! ;-)

Courtney

I didn’t see that one OMGsrsly! I did pick up the Eight Treasures Yabao though. Perhaps that will be my next cup.

I’ve been so out of hand this month with order caile. :|

sundaysipping

I’m so glad that I’m not the only one that has trouble fitting their tea orders into the cupboard. :-)

Courtney

Haha! I had to rearrange drastically sundaysipping. I’m only “allowed” one tea cupboard, so I’m going to need to get creative.

Sil

gross. silver yabao and i do NOT get along… blech. in so far as cuboards go… i need a day to rearrange..my unopened teas are taking up too much room in me “open once you’ve finished some other stuff” cube

Courtney

Sil! I got the Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong Smoked Wuyi as a sample in my order – are you interested? I kind of despise smoke in my tea haha.

Sil

of course! looooove it! that would be awesome

sundaysipping

Part of the deal with my fiance and I moving in together was that he got a fish tank and I got a tea cupboard. It’s the smallest cupboard in our kitchen, meanwhile my fiance has a 55 gallon fish tank. I’m considering taking over the (much larger) spice-and-sundries cabinet for my tea. After all, tea is so much more important than things like canned tomatoes. And I’d still only be using one cabinet.

Courtney

OMG sundaysipping I also have the smallest cupboard in the kitchen for my teas and my fiance has a 160 gallon fish tank. That is bizarre. We are already pressed for room in our kitchen so I’ve taken over a drawer in our kitchen cart for all my swaps that come in. I’ve managed to hide three tea tins in there too. Mwuahaha.

OMGsrsly

Do it, sundaysipping! :D Courtney, the tea was part of the Verdant Blends christmas box.

sundaysipping

OMGsrsly, I am so tempted. Only think keeping me from doing it is that he cooks most of our meals and I’m afraid he’d dump some of my Lime Gelato into pasta sauce, thinking it was oregano or something. What a horrible thought.

Courtney, that is so weird about the fishtank and cabinet! Maybe I can trade my fiance if I offer to let him get a bigger fishtank … (he thinks I don’t see him eyeing them when we’re in the fish store but I totally notice). I think that you should convert your kitchen cart into a tea cart! Also: I love the idea of a kitchen cart — we have no storage space and barely any counters so this might be a good solution for us. Hmmm.

Courtney

That’s exactly why we got the cart. It is so handy. I may be able to convert one more drawer in it at least. Mwuahaha.

OMGsrsly

That would be a waste of good tea, wouldn’t it, sundaysipping. :)

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This is another lovely sample from caile – thanks!

Yet another great black tea. This one doesn’t have that natural sweetness, but it’s still quite tasty. I decided on this for my morning cup this morning and it did not disappoint. It comes off as fresh and clean tasting.

I would say I prefer the Bailin, because I do have that weakness for the honey-like sweetness, but I certainly wouldn’t say no to this being in my cupboard from time to time.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Stephanie

I’m getting the Bailin soon as a sample for review. SUPER excited!

caile

Yay! I also had chosen the bailin over this one, although both were good. Glad you enjoyed them!

Courtney

Thanks caile! This swap has been so informative haha. I now know TeaVivre teas will most likely be a staple in my cupboard.

Courtney

Stephanie the Bailin was wonderful! I ordered some a little over a week ago and now I’m even more impatient for it to arrive.

caile I like a lot of teavivre’s teas, and the only problem is picking favorites.

You’re so good at trying all the samples, Courtney! lol I’m so slow. :-P

Courtney

Haha I get overly excited with swaps and I always want to try all the new teas. :P

caile

Haha! Me too… (except I’m a slowpoke)! ;-)

Courtney

Haha. :P I’m excited to see some of your tasting notes – especially the Taiwanese Wild Mountain, I might even say that is my all-time favourite.

caile

Yes, I’m really forward to trying this one!!

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Another awesome sample from caile! I may have been excited about receiving this swap today in the mail haha.

This tea is fascinating! The smell is that typical comforting black tea scent, but the taste is different altogether. Is that a berry taste? Berries? Fascinating. It’s also a bit woodsy. Not like the forest, like wood hah. I’m quite enjoying it, and the different taste for each sip is keeping me on my toes.

I’ve been researching all night, attempting to narrow down a topic for a proposal due Friday, and rather than narrow anything down, I’ve managed to expand my topic choices. Why must everything sound so interesting? Sigh.

Thanks caile :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec
caile

Glad you tried this!

Terri HarpLady

This is one of. My favorites :)

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Another sample from caile :)

Ahh black teas. They are my weakness. I must have them all.

Oh dear. I just brought this up to take a whiff and I smell smoke. I know it’s there! It’s still cooling, so hopefully it won’t come through in the taste.

Okay so that smokiness certainly isn’t strong at all, but it’s there. Subtle, yes, but still too much for me. It’s not actually in the taste, but seeing as my nose has to come pretty close to the cup to take a sip, I don’t think I can quite handle it. Thank you for letting me try this one out caile!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec
caile

aww, that’s too bad you got too much smokiness in this one. Glad you were able to try it out though! :)

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Mmm, this one has that natural honey-like sweetness going on. I love that flavour. It’s the very reason straight black teas are my favourite. The scent is intoxicating.

The taste isn’t overwhelming, but still a lovely subtly strong black tea. Subtly strong sounds like an oxymoron, but I’ll have to come up with a better way of illustrating it if something else strikes me.

My one wee pet peeve is when black teas have a lower steeping time (though that isn’t a reflection solely on this tea). It really shouldn’t bother me at all, but I’m so often in a rush and teas that steep at boiling are such a delight in those moments.

Thanks for sharing caile! I’m thrilled I have some of this en route.

Update: The second steep of this is delightful with plenty of flavour. (1.5 tsp/14 oz.)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 15 sec
caile

I’m glad you like it!! :-)
I know what you mean by lower steep temperature being more trouble than just letting the water boil – do you have a variable temp kettle?

Courtney

I don’t! Pout. I do love my kettle though, perhaps my next one will be a variable temperature.

caile

I recently received one and really like it! Before that I used a stove top kettle with a whistling spout.

Courtney

That was my one before the current one. Now I have this one: http://instagram.com/p/YBKG2SuZB9/

OMGsrsly

Now that I have a variable temp, I don’t steep anything but herbals at boiling. :) I find the black teas so much nicer plain with 195-200F water..

Courtney

Neat OMGsrsly! I’ll have to try a few of my favourites at lower temperatures now. :)

Dexter

Agreed – I steep most blacks at 90-95C

caile

I just noticed that this is listed as the organic version; the one I sent was the regular one. ;-) I was interested in trying the organic version but it was out of stock.

Courtney

Whoops!

caile

Lol Sorry I didn’t notice it until now for some reason.

Courtney

I did the same thing for the note I did when I got my TeaVivre order. Wow, fail haha.

caile

Haha! They are almost the same, so easy to do. :-)

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If I remember correctly the one and only tasting note I did for this one just said it was amazing, and that I’d add more. The time has come.

I didn’t realize this wasn’t in my cupboard, though I have only one cup left until it’s gone. It wasn’t in my Butiki order that’s en route, but perhaps the next one.

This one is sweet, and I can get the baked bread notes. And a touch of hazelnut. All very subtle of course. Butiki teas really are a work of art.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Ruby Pie by Butiki Teas
675 tasting notes

A couple months ago I made the ill-considered decision to eat one of the animal crackers from my dry tea leaves. Obviously, it wasn’t just the animal cracker, but also residue from the actual tea. Well, this tea in dry form was not my friend. A part of me feared I would never love this tea again, but this morning I took the bold step of brewing this up, and yes I am enjoying as I once did, before the fateful cracker tasting.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Sil

Haha yay!

VariaTEA

Haha this is why I LOVE their company!!

Sil

that’s awesome… I’m so tempted to just say the hell with it and order through amazon even if i’ll likely be there soon haha

Courtney

Well, as I have no plans to go to Miami anytime soon, I couldn’t help myself. :P I’m happy to send anything I got your way Sil.

keychange

Ooohoh oh oh!! what’d you get? what’d you get? (can’t see your pic for obvious reasons lol)

Courtney

keychange I placed a Nina’s order yesterday for 4 teas and they emailed me this morning saying they were throwing in an extra 1.6oz. of 4 fruits rouges as a gift for me and my Steepster friends. :)

keychange

oh wow, how very kind of them!

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drank Nina's Japon by Nina's Paris
675 tasting notes

I’m on my second steep of this and it’s just as delicious as the first time. Yes, that was two days ago. VariaTEA sent this sample my way and we were just chatting about how I definitely have the control to wait until February to place a Nina’s order. I mean, it’s only a week away.

I was taking a break from studying/assignments this afternoon and where do I find myself but on Amazon. Sigh. I’m sure you know the rest of the story.

Yay for new teas!

Also, I’m trying out a new recipe now for moist coconut loaf while I sip away of this treat.

Update: You guys, the coconut loaf is amazing!

Yet another update: I got an email regarding my order this morning!

http://s770.photobucket.com/user/courtneyns/media/Steepster/IMG_4266copy_zps0e618a95.png.html?sort=3&o=0

(I may have specifically set up Photobucket to share this, and other photos with you guys. I was using J’s but I may as well have my own.)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec
VariaTEA

hahahahahaha so should I take the sample of Japon out of our swap or leave it in?

VariaTEA

Also, did you end up getting anything other than Japon?

Courtney

Feel free to take that sample back. :P Yes! I also got Je t’aime, Magicienne, and Grand Amour. Would you like some in the swap? They’ve already shipped (gasp!), so they’ll be here before the S&V we’re waiting on. :)

VariaTEA

haha I tried Grand Amour and it was good but not for me. I would be happy to try some Magicienne though. I got a sample when I saw them and stupidly made it before realizing I was sick and couldn’t taste anything.

Courtney

Of course! I will definitely add that one in. Eee! New teas!

VariaTEA

Yay! Does it make you happy knowing that you have Japon on the way and you no longer need to hoard the sample??

Stephanie

Magicienne is my fave! Japon is a close 2nd .

VariaTEA

I have a feeling it is really good but I could not taste the sample for the life of me. I was so mad.

Nicole

Coconut loaf? Share recipe if it turns out well? :) It sounds tasty.

Courtney

VariaTEA I am thrilled I no longer have to hoard haha! I ordered the 2×1.6oz option on amazon since it ended up being $5 less than the option with the tin. I was also thrilled about that haha. Also, now you will have another chance to taste it!

Stephanie Thanks! As if I could be more excited haha.

Nicole I definitely will!

Fjellrev

Coconut loaf sounds exquisite.

Cavocorax

Oh, that’s awesome! Was the shipping costs reasonable?

Courtney

Cavo the shipping was just over $10 for 5 packages of tea at 1.6oz. each. The tins were slightly more to ship so I opted for the packages of Japon since I have an abundance of tins.

Sil

Want.

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Profile

Bio

Lover of tea, animals, the ocean (http://eastcoastbest.tumblr.com/), science, travel, and all things summer.

That’s my mug! I may have a slight love of Star Trek.

I love black teas. I pretty well always drink my tea straight. I’m also fond of herbals, but they rarely make my permanent collection. I prefer my tea hot, but occasionally I’ll cold brew.

Oolongs I enjoy, but I’m not generally in the mood for them. I only truly enjoy subtly fruity flavoured greens. Whites have to be pretty amazing (see Butiki’s White Rhino).

Pu’erhs I’m working on at a snail’s pace, but so far I’m not loving them. Rooibos/honeybush have to be well hidden for me to enjoy them. Mates and are not for me at all.

Likes:
Coconut, creaminess, yogurt, toffee, cacao (true chocolate flavour), rhubarb.

Dislikes:
Any smokiness, bergamot, flowers (rose, jasmine, chamomile), hibiscus is hit and miss.

Location

Canada

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